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Fraser Institute hosting conference to examine links between Canadian immigration policy and terrorism

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Release Date: June 7, 2007
The Fraser Institute, Canada's leading independent research organization, is hosting a conference in Toronto to discuss immigration policy and how it relates to the threat of terrorism in Canada and the United States.

"It's become obvious in recent years that Canada's flawed refugee system and a lack of political will to reform the program have been major factors in making Canada a prime destination for terrorists," said Martin Collacott, a senior fellow with the Institute and co-chair of the conference.

"This conference is an attempt to generate discussion about policy options for governments. We can't hide behind political correctness; both Canada and the U.S. need to carefully examine the links between immigration policy, security and the potential for terrorism."

Canada and the U.S. share the world's longest undefended border. But since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, security has become a priority for the Americans, said Alexander Moens, Fraser Institute senior fellow, professor of political science at Simon Fraser University and conference co-chair.

"The United States is Canada's largest trading partner. For our own economic security and well-being, Canada needs to ensure that our immigration and refugee policy is not perceived as posing a potential threat to the U.S."

Scheduled for June 28 and 29 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto, the conference has lined up a wide array of experts in immigration policy and security, and journalists who have written about immigration and terrorism.

These are some of the 17 featured speakers:

Bat Ye'or - World-renowned author of Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide and Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis .

Kim Bolan - reporter with the Vancouver Sun and author. She won the PEN Canada/Paul Kidd Courage Prize in 2006 for her coverage of the Air-India story while under death threats and is the author of Loss of Faith: How the Air-India Bombers Got Away With Murder . She will speak on Sikh extremism in Canada.

Steven Emerson - A leading authority on Islamic extremist networks, financing, and operations, he is the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which he launched in 1995 after the broadcast of his award-winning documentary, Jihad in America . Nearly every one of the terrorist suspects and groups first identified in his 1994 film have been indicted, convicted, or deported since 9-11. He will discuss the presence and influence of terrorists and their supporters in Canada and the United States.

Stewart Bell - A veteran investigative reporter and foreign correspondent, he has been writing about terrorism for more than twelve years, playing a central role in alerting Canadians to the threat posed by foreign and Canadian-born terrorists in Canada. He is the author of Cold War: How Canada Nurtures and Exports Terrorism Around the World . He will speak about Canada's response to terrorism since 9/11.

James Bissett - former executive director of the Canadian Immigration Service, Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania, and Canadian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago. He will join Mark Krikorian , executive director of the Center for Immigration studies in Washington DC, to discuss security concerns in immigration and refugee policies.

Other highlights include a media panel with Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente and Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant . The two will discuss what it is like to be on the front lines debating immigration, terrorism and ethnic politics.

Collacott and Moens said their aim is for the conference to inform the public and describe the terrorist threat for what it is. Participants at the conference will also examine and compare Canadian, U.S. and European government policies for dealing with terrorism. The objective is to analyze strengths and weaknesses in these policies and formulate recommendations that could provide a better balance between immigration and national security. 

What: Fraser Institute Conference on Immigration Policy, Border Controls and the Terrorist Threat in Canada and the United States
When: June 28 - 29, 2007
Where: Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto